Substance abuse and addiction affect every sphere of life, including the relationships the abuser is in. It’s a challenge to have a healthy relationship with an addict as his judgment is impaired. He cannot reason as a sober person would. Substance abuse affects relationships in different ways. Some personality changes in relationships are;
1. Creation of Enabling Relationships
The people related to the drug abuser are drawn into enabling his addiction unintentionally. They give support to their loved ones thinking they are helping, which, unfortunately, may not be so. The family protects the person from the consequences of his addiction. For instance, the wife of an alcoholic might take all the family roles when the husband fails. If she does this without a demand to the man to seek treatment, she is enabling his behavior.
2. Violence and Abuse
Substance abuse causes bottled-up anger, resentments, and anguish, which, if unchecked, results in abuse and violence. A substance abuser can be aggressive and become volatile in his behavior. He might victimize those in his life who are not drug abusers. These persons then, out of anger, might also react with violence since they are also fed up with his irresponsible behavior. Alcohol and domestic violence are a kind of Siamese twins. In most cases where violence is, alcohol happens to be part of the causal elements.
3. Makes Relationships Dysfunctional
The priority of an addict is how to get the drugs or substance that he uses. He does not care about the people in his life. Dysfunctional relationships surround him. He neglects those that need him; his spouse, children, and other important people in his life. He strains the relationships he has if he starts to steal or sell items to support his habits. In a family, each person has responsibilities. A drug abuser neglects his duties and overburdens another person who causes conflicts.
4. Creates Codependency Relationships
The relatives and friends of the drug abuser offer support to him, and he becomes dependent on them. At times the person helping is doing it for personal gain. His fulfillment is in the kindness he is extending to the addict. He is satisfied by the dependency the drug abuser has and enjoys the martyrdom role. The helper thinks support will get the person out of addiction, which is not true. Unknown to the two parties, they both need help to have a healthy relationship.
5. Causes Mistrust in Relationships
A substance abuser is, in many cases, deceptive, unreliable, and irresponsible. It causes mistrust in the relationships he has. To sustain his habit, an addict lies to get the money he needs to buy drugs. If a person gets into domestic violence when drunk, those around him will never trust him when he is not sober. The failure of an addict to take care of his roles as a family member causes mistrust, resentment, and anger in the relationships he has. The only way to restore trust in a relationship is for the person to seek help.
To restore relationships, the addict needs help. No matter how much those around the person love and sacrifice for him, the only lasting and positive solution is treatment. In essence, that’s a sick person, and the longer his condition lasts, the worse it gets and affects others. Healthy relationships are essential. It is, therefore, reasonable to get treatment for an addict for him to get his social network back.